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Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Address to World Food Program Staff

‘Thanks to a small endeavor, a small sacrifice, your hidden sacrifice, small or great, so many children can eat, so much hunger is overcome.’

After the address to the Assembly of the World Food Program , the Holy Father met in the garden of World Food Program’s (WFP) office in Rome with staff and their families and the children that attend the nursery school and he greeted them off-the-cuff.

Here is a translation of the transcription of the words pronounced by Pope Francis:

* * *

I should give an address in Spanish, but the majority of you don’t understand Spanish; you understand Italian because you live in Italy. And addresses are also boring! So I hand the address to be given later, and I’ll say a few words that come to me spontaneously from the heart.

The first thing I want to say to you, in my bad Italian, is thank you. Thank you because you do the hidden work, the work from “behind the scenes,” which is not seen, but which makes possible for all to go ahead. You are like the foundation of a palace: without foundations, the palace doesn’t stand. So many projects, so many things can be done, and are done in the world, in the fight against hunger, and so many courageous people do them – but they do so thanks to your support, to your hidden help. Your names appear only on the staff list – and at the end of the month in that of payroll — but outside no one knows your name. Yet your names make this great work possible, this great work of the fight against hunger. Thanks to a small endeavor, a small sacrifice, your hidden sacrifice, small or great, so many children can eat, so much hunger is overcome. Thank you so much.

When I heard the Program’s Directress speak, I thought to myself: this is a courageous woman! And I believe all of you have this courage: the courage to carry forward a work from behind the scenes and help. It’s the courage of those individuals that are seen, because in a body there are feet, there are hands, there is also the face: the face is seen, but the feet are not seen, because they are hidden in the shoes; but you are the feet, the hands that sustain the courage of all those that go ahead, that have also sustained the courage of your “martyrs,” let’s say so, of your witnesses — never, never forget the names of those that are written there, at the entrance. They were able to do those things because of the courage they had, because of the faith they had in their work, but also because they were supported by your work. Thank you so much. And I ask you to pray for me, so that I too can do something against hunger. Thank you!

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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